Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. That's just one of the many wedding traditions that persist to this day. But have you ever thought to question them? Where did our wedding superstitions come from, and how did they start? While you don't necessarily have to include traditions in your big day, knowing more about them is nice. Let's explore the origins of some of the most popular superstitions.
#1 Why is It Bad Luck to See the Bride before the Wedding?
So, why can't the groom see the bride before the wedding? This superstition dates back to when arranged marriages were the norm, and betrothed couples weren't allowed to see each other before the wedding. Back then, marriages were more of a business deal between two families.
This tradition became commonplace to protect the bride and her family in case the groom meets the bride before the big day and decides to call off the wedding because he didn't like how she looked. The bride's thick veil also keeps the groom from seeing her face until the last possible minute when it's already too late to back out. Not exactly romantic, huh?
Is it still bad luck to show your wedding dress before the wedding? Today, arranged marriages are no longer common, but most brides still want the element of surprise. So, although the wedding is a mutual decision between the couple, not seeing the bride before the wedding and wearing a veil makes the ceremony more exciting and memorable.
#2: The Bride Must Wear Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue
This rhyme is a memorable Victorian rhyme and honoured tradition that most brides still follow to this day to bring them good luck. The old item represents the couple's desire to retain family connections during their married life. And this item is usually an old garter from a happily married woman to pass on wedded bliss to the new bride.
The new item worn represents creating a new union that looks toward the future. By wearing "something new", the couple is making a union that will last forever and bring good health, happiness, and success. Wearing "something borrowed" is an excellent opportunity for the bride's loved ones to lend her a special token of their love. Finally, blue is a symbol of constancy and fidelity.
The custom of wearing "something blue" originated in ancient Israel, where brides would wear a blue ribbon in their hair to convey their promise of fidelity to their new husbands. The last part of the rhyme says "...and a silver sixpence in her shoe". And doing this is supposed to bring the new bride a life filled with good fortune.
These days, this is one of the most well-kept traditions of modern brides
#3: Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold
This tradition has a few origins, but today’s grooms persist in carrying their brides over the threshold as a romantic way to welcome them into their lives.
Medieval Europe - Back then, it was perceived as scandalous when a woman showed enthusiasm about losing her virginity on her wedding night. The bride can avoid looking too eager about consummating her marriage thanks to the groom carrying her over the threshold.
Western Europe - They believed that if a bride trips on the threshold of her new home, she will bring bad luck to her house and marriage. Grooms would carry their brides into the home to circumvent this lousy luck.
In many ancient cultures, it was believed that the home's threshold was a hotbed of evil spirits lying in wait. And new brides were susceptible to spirit intrusion through the soles of her feet. By carrying the bride, the groom ensures that evil spirits won't get into their home.
#4: Catching the Bride’s Bouquet or Garter Means You Will Get Married Next
The origin of this superstition is somewhat indecent since, in medieval times, getting a fragment of the bride's clothing was considered lucky. So, gusts would usually trail after the newlywed couple into their wedding chamber and stand around the bed, ripping pieces of the bride's gown.
To avoid this and save their wedding gowns, brides opted to throw their wedding bouquets to distract the crowd while they escaped. Once the couple is in their wedding chamber, the groom crack open the door and throw the bride's garter to the people waiting outside.
In modern weddings, bridesmaids who catch the bouquet and groomsmen who catch the garter are paired together. The lucky groomsman puts the band on the leg of the unmarried woman, symbolising that they would be the next ones to get married (but not necessarily to each other). However, since it may cause embarrassment for the participants, many couples opt out of this tradition.
#5: Newlyweds Must Save the Top Layer of Their Wedding Cake and Eat It on Their First Anniversary
Fancy some wedding cake superstitions? "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the carriage!" It was common for newly married couples to have a baby on the way shortly after. Therefore, wedding and christening ceremonies were often linked, just like the cakes baked for each occasion. This superstition became popular in the 19th century when multi-tiered wedding cakes (usually three) became a thing.
Due to the large size of the wedding cake, the top tier was almost always left over. This was when couples began using the christening ceremony as the perfect event to finish the cake. For three-tiered cakes, the bottom is eaten during the reception, the middle is distributed, and the top tier is saved for the christening.
Today, christenings and weddings became disassociated and saving the top tier gained a different meaning. Couples now keep the top layer of their wedding cake for their first anniversary to remind them of their wedding day. It doesn't exactly sound appetising, does it? But many couples choose to have their top wedding cake tiers recreated by their chosen bakers for their anniversary.
Additional Wedding Superstitions You Might Want to Know
Rain on your wedding day - Although you may not be too happy about it, rain on our wedding day actually symbolises fertility and cleansing.
Ringing bells - Chiming bells at weddings is an Irish tradition to keep evil spirits away and ensure a happy family life.
Breaking glass - It is an Italian tradition where the number of broken pieces symbolises how many years the couple will be happily married.
Crying at your wedding - Crying on your way to the altar ensures that you will live a happily married life.
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